Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof).
But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker. Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare…
Inspired by extraordinary true events, The Stray Cats of Homs is the story of a young man who will do anything to keep the dream of home alive, even in the face of unimaginable devastation. Tender, wild and unbearably raw, it is a novel which will stay with you for ever.
This book was beautiful, sad, moving and tender. Sami and his friends find ways to live despite the war in the streets and the constant terror of rocket attacks around them.
A gentle person, Sami is conscripted and forced to work for a military he does not believe in, waging war on their own people. He becomes a journalist, trying to share the reality of life under fire.
His escape and journey to the safety of Paris, where he meets the author, had my heart in my mouth at times.
Written under a nom de plume to protect the real “Sami”, the author is now his partner, and there is a sense of that affection throughout. As well as that of Sami’s for animals – he never loses his tender heart.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.